Forensic Architecture

Shipwreck at the Threshold of Europe, Lesvos, Aegean Sea: 28 October 2015
United Kingdom 2020

silent green Betonhalle
20.02.–01.03. 11:00–21:00, except 27.02. 11:00–17:00
03.–22.03. Tue-Sun 14:00–19:00

2-channel video installation, 25 min. English.

On 28 October 2015, a migrant boat left the coast of Western Turkey heading to the closest European coast – the Greek island of Lesvos. The shipwreck resulted in the death of at least 43 people, making it the deadliest incident of that period, also known as “the long summer of migration.” One of the survivors, the artist Amel Alzakout, recorded the journey and the shipwreck on a waterproof camera attached to her wrist. This footage – which also forms the basis of her subsequent film Purple Sea – provides a unique situated perspective on this tragic event at the threshold of Europe.
Commissioned by Alzakout, Forensic Architecture reconstructed the boat’s journey, the shipwreck, and the rescue operation that followed. Cross referencing the footage with other sources, including a long-range thermal video taken by artist Richard Mosse, videos by activists, professional press, and the Greek coastguard, as well as satellite images and weather data, helped answer the question “what happened,” who might be responsible, and revealed some of the complex politics of migration today.

Forensic Architecture is a research agency based at Goldsmiths, University of London, consisting of architects, artists, filmmakers, journalists, software developers, scientists, lawyers, and an extended network of collaborators from a wide range of fields and disciplines. Founded in 2010 by Prof. Eyal Weizman, Forensic Architecture is committed to the development and dissemination of new evidentiary techniques and undertakes advanced architectural and media investigations on cases of state and corporate violence on behalf of international prosecutors, human rights and civil society groups, as well as political and environmental justice organizations. Forensic Architecture produces and presents architectural evidence in a variety of forums: national and international courts, parliamentary inquiries, peoples’ tribunals, as well as in the media and in cultural spaces.

Production Eyal Weizman, Christina Varvia, Stefanos Levidis, Nathan Su. Production company Forensic Architecture (London, United Kingdom). Director Forensic Architecture. Collaboration Amel Alzakout, Khaled Abdulwahed, Mazd Jammoul, Richard Mosse, pong film. Filmed by Amel Alzakout, Richard Mosse, Eric Kempson, Mikel Konate / Associated Press, Greek Coastaguard, Nabaho Kayaker. Commissioned by Amel Alzakout.

Films

2017: Torture in Saydnaya Prison, The Enforced Disappearance of the 43 Ayotzinapa Students, The Murder of Halit Yozgat. 2018: The Ali Enterprises Factory Fire. 2019: Killing in Umm al-Hiran, Triple-Chaser. 2020: Shipwreck at the Threshold of Europe, Lesvos, Aegean Sea: 28 October 2015.

Photo: © Forensic Architecture